When your dog gets older, it may start to exhibit behaviors that strike you as odd or unusual. For instance, your old dog may suddenly show you that it wants to go outside more often than before. Why does this happen? Should you worry about it?
Your old dog keeps wanting to go outside because it may be suffering from anxiety, depression, or Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome. Physical discomfort may also make your dog want to go outside to isolate itself. It’s also possible that your pet simply enjoys the outdoors.
In the rest of this article, I will cover all the possible reasons why your old dog suddenly wants to spend time outside. I will also explain when you need to worry and what you can do about each case. Let’s get started!
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Reasons Why Old Dogs May Want To Go Outside
There are several reasons why your older dog might want to go outside. Some are perfectly natural, but others may signal that something is wrong with your dog. To know what to do, you should know all the possible causes and their symptoms.
Dogs Love Being Outdoors
Before we get into all the unusual reasons why your old dog may want to go outside, you need to remember that, generally, dogs love being outdoors. Being outside allows them to explore a much wider environment and meet new people and animals, so it makes sense for a dog to generally like going outside.
Older dogs are no exception to this rule. Being outside is necessary for your dog to relieve itself, but also for mental and physical exercise. It’s safe to say that it’s probably any dog’s favorite time of the day, so it’s not unusual for them to want to go outside all the time.
My labrador, Blanco, for example, loves to simply sit outside and bask in the sun, even though he is otherwise an indoor dog. Veterinarians even recommend your dog spend at least 20 to 40 minutes daily in the sun.
When your dog is suffering from an injury or something else that causes it pain, it might need to go outdoors to seek more comfort. Understandably, older dogs are more likely to experience pain or discomfort because their organism is more vulnerable.
Physical discomfort while being in an indoor environment might cause the dog to be uneasy and restless all the time. As a result, your old dog might frequently ask to go outside, seeking a way to feel better.
Depression is unfortunately pretty common in older dogs. It’s caused by chemical imbalances in their brains as a result of aging. Your dog may show different signs of depression, including loss of interest in food or games, low activity, or loss of appetite.
Another potential sign is suddenly wanting to spend more time outdoors. Your depressed dog might want to stay outside because the open environment and the possibility of exploring a much wider space help their mood.
Anxiety is also a common health issue in dogs. The hormonal imbalance in older dogs may be a potential cause for anxiety, causing signs like excessive barking, aggression, or restlessness. Anxiety can also make your dog want to self-isolate by going outside.
Although your anxious dog might want to stay outside to avoid interaction with the rest of the family members, you probably should not leave it alone. Instead, you may be able to help your dog by staying and playing with it outdoors.
Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome
In some cases, older dogs can experience Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS), which is a condition that affects your pet’s brain. When a dog suffers from this syndrome, its cognitive abilities are affected in several ways. As a result, it might not be able to tell the difference between different spaces and objects.
In this case, your dog might find it difficult to recognize different parts of the house and thus struggle to navigate indoor spaces. However, when the dog is outdoors, it understands more easily where everything is since its senses don’t have to deal with multiple rooms and furniture arrangements. An open space is easier to perceive for an older dog with CDS.
Self Isolating Because of Poor Health
Older dogs will start to suffer from different diseases or conditions as their organism starts to deteriorate toward the end of their life.
As mentioned above, your dog might want to self-isolate and go outside to feel better when it feels discomfort. If you notice your old dog wanting to go outside and you can see other signs of potential diseases, you should take your pet to the vet for an examination.
This may be hard to hear, but your dog also seeks to self-isolate when it feels that its life may be ending soon. Some animals may want to distance themselves from their group when they sense they might be nearing their death, seeking more space.
There’s not much to do in this case other than spend as much time as you can loving on your pooch. Remember that you and your dog will always have a special bond and that you need to prepare for the inevitable.
All dogs love the outdoors, but you may be concerned when your old dog suddenly wants to spend more time outside. There is cause for concern because older dogs are more likely to suffer from Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome, depression, or anxiety, all of which may make your dog want to go outside more.
It’s also possible that your dog is suffering from an injury or a disease that causes physical discomfort, which makes your dog want to self-isolate. If you notice other physical symptoms, you should take your dog to the vet to make sure nothing is wrong.